Speeches and parliamentary questions in the House of Commons in the Current SessionWhile speaking in the chamber of the House is a high profile activity for an MP, much other work is done elsewhere, in committee, as well as a large casework load for constituents.
24/04/17 Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill
24/04/17 Prison Officers: Pay
19/04/17 Leaving the EU: Private Sector
19/04/17 Joint Ministerial Committee
28/03/17 Politicians must get their act together on Northern Ireland
13/03/17 Prison Officers: Pay
09/03/17 Draft Collection of Fines etc. (Northern Ireland Consequential Amendments) Order 2017
09/03/17 Scotland: Demography and Devolution
08/03/17 Irene Clennell
07/03/17 Detainees: Northern Ireland
07/03/17 Air Weapons (Scotland)
06/03/17 Social Security Benefits: Blaydon
01/03/17 Leaving the EU: EU Nationals in Scotland
01/03/17 Leaving the EU: Trade
01/02/17 Health Services: Non-domestic Rates
01/02/17 Prisoners' Transfers
01/02/17 Kingsmill murders
01/02/17 Energy Costs (NI)
31/01/17 Draft Scottish Fiscal Commission Act 2016
18/01/17 Taxation (Scotland)
18/01/17 Agriculture (Scotland)
18/01/17 Welfare Powers (Scotland)
17/01/17 Northern Ireland Assembly Election
10/01/17 Resignation of Martin McGuinness
09/01/17 Martin McGuinness
16/12/16 Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme: Northern Ireland
14/12/16 Exiting the EU: Scotland
08/12/16 Post-study Work Schemes
07/12/16 UK Decision to Leave the EU: Ireland
07/12/16 Northern Ireland Office: Leaving the EU
07/12/16 Stormont House Agreement
05/12/16 Draft Representation of the People (Electronic Communications and Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2016
01/12/16 Energy: Prices
28/11/16 State Retirement Pensions: British Nationals Abroad
28/11/16 County Londonderry
22/11/16 WiFi: Health Hazards
17/11/16 Brain: Tumours
16/11/16 Inshore Fishing: Northern Ireland
16/11/16 Inshore Fishing: Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland
16/11/16 County Londonderry
16/11/16 Migrant Workers: Northern Ireland
04/11/16 Offshore Industry
03/11/16 Apprentices: Taxation
27/10/16 Apprentices: Taxation
26/10/16 Leaving the EU: Republic of Ireland
26/10/16 Northern Ireland Economy
18/10/16 Bankruptcy Scotland
17/10/16 General Practitioners
12/10/16 Scotland, apprenticeships
12/10/16 Brexit, profits
14/09/16 Social Security Northern Ireland
13/09/16 Draft Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 (Consequential provisions and modifications) Order 2016
06/09/16 Claim of Right for Scotland
25/08/16 British Airways: Conditions of Employment
01/08/16 Housing: Construction
27/07/16 Prison Service: Working Hours
26/07/16 Israel: Arms Trade
22/07/16 Prison Service: Working Hours
21/07/16 NHS: Finance
20/07/16 Northern Ireland: Economic Development
08/07/16 EU Countries: British Nationals Abroad
07/07/16 GMB: Correspondence
06/07/16 EU referendum
04/07/16 Reading: Teaching Methods
29/06/16 Ethiopia: Human Rights
28/06/16 Ethiopia: Overseas Aid
28/06/16 Ethiopia: Human Rights
16/06/16 Personal Independence Payment
15/06/16 Canada: EU External Trade
15/06/16 The fight of our lives
14/06/16 Personal Independence Payment
14/06/16 Football violence
13/06/16 Mobile Phones: Children
13/06/16 Cancer: Mobile Phones
10/06/16 Muscular Dystrophy: Drugs
09/06/16 Asylum: Children
08/06/16 Disability Employment Gap
07/06/16 Land Registry: Privatisation
01/06/16 Coal Fired Power Stations
26/05/16 Steel Industry; Pensions
26/05/16 The Economy and Work
26/05/16 National Grid
25/05/16 North-East people know better than old Etonians
25/05/16 Coal: Imports
25/05/16 Muscular Dystrophy: Drugs
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether she has submitted evidence to the Prison Officers Pay Review Body; and what the reasons were for the time taken for that submission.
Sam Gyimah, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): The government has now submitted its evidence to the Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB), which outlines the pay proposals for all operational prison staff for 2017/18, following extensive talks with both the Prison Officers’ Association (POA) and the Prison Governors’ Association (PGA).
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Former Prime Minister David Cameron promised he would not resign if he lost the EU referendum; he reneged on that promise within hours. The current Prime Minister said on seven occasions that she would not call an early election; she reneged on that promise yesterday. Will the Minister, answering on behalf of the Secretary of State, give him the chance to break the mould and renew the commitment given to this House on at least three occasions that whatever support is put in place for businesses in the North-East like Nissan will be put in place for Scotland?
Greg Hands, Minister of State (Department for International Trade): We have been absolutely clear that our support for Nissan and the rest of the automotive sector will be enduring. That is the most important point, and I am sure it will be an important point in the general election campaign. I look forward to the Conservatives being competitive in the North-East in this coming general election, and we look forward to taking the fight to the official Opposition there.
Mr Anderson: The question was whether the Secretary of State will renew the promise given to Scotland that it would have the same deal, and, if he will, will he tell the people in the oil and gas supply chain, given the report from Robert Gordon University which last week found that Brexit would cost them £200 million, that that money will be sorted and they will be looked after in the same way as Nissan - or will he ignore that and break another promise?
Greg Hands: I am certainly glad that the hon. Gentleman has raised the question of oil and gas in Scotland: I know that he and I will agree that what would be most disastrous for the Scottish economy, including the oil and gas sector, would be Scottish separation, leading to an overnight budget deficit of around 9% of GDP. That would be a disaster.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The JMC is supposed to be the platform through which the devolved Administrations have their voices not just heard but responded to. The Secretary of State paints a rosy picture, but he is not listening to those voices. Northern Ireland voices are not being heard at the moment, because they are not allowed to attend. From what we have heard this morning, the Scots are saying clearly that their voice is being ignored. The Welsh feel, at best, less than impressed. Will the Government give this body the teeth it needs, put it on a statutory footing and let it do its job properly?
David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland: The purpose of the JMC is to bring together the UK Government and the devolved Administrations, and to work together to formulate our position as we go forward in the negotiations. I very much regret the fact that the Northern Ireland Executive have not been able to be politically present in recent times - we all want that situation to be brought to a conclusion - but the meetings have been robust and, I believe, certainly in terms of the actions that have flowed from them, constructive.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps she plans to take to ensure the independence of the Prison Officers' Pay Review Body from (a) prison service management and (b) Government.
Sam Gyimah, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): The Government respects and values the role of the independent Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB) as a compensatory mechanism for Operational staff within the Prison Service for whom the inducement to participate in industrial action is prohibited by law.
The PSPRB members are independently appointed through the Public Appointments Team and the panel makes independent recommendations having considered evidence from both NOMS, in agreement with wider Government, and trade unions.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): It is a privilege to serve under your chairmanship, Ms Buck. The draft order is a sensible and reasonable way of dealing with the matter. It has been agreed by the Northern Ireland Assembly and we certainly do not oppose it.
Sir Oliver Heald: I thank the hon. Gentleman for that succinct speech - one of the best speeches I have heard in such a Committee.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, on what grounds the order for the deportation to Singapore of Irene Clennell was given.
Robert Goodwill, Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration): All applications for leave to remain in the UK are considered on their individual merits and in line with the Immigration Rules. We expect those with no legal right to remain in the country to leave. Mrs Clennell has had no legal basis to remain in the UK since July 2014.
Mrs Clennell has spent the majority of her life, including her married life, in Singapore. She was granted indefinite leave to remain in 1992 but this lapsed after she went on to live outside the UK for more than two years. Mrs Clennell last entered the UK as a visitor in 2013 and went on to make an application to remain as the spouse of her husband in 2013. This was refused and her appeal rights were exhausted on 10 July 2014. It is right that we expect those with no legal right to remain to leave the UK
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he has taken to investigate allegations on Channel 4's Dispatches programme of 4 February 2017 that members of the armed forces and the RUC were involved in waterboarding detained persons in Northern Ireland in 1972.
James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: The UK unreservedly condemns the use of torture or inhuman treatment. We work hard with our international partners to eradicate this abhorrent practice. We have consistently made clear our absolute opposition to torture and our determination to combat it wherever and whenever it occurs.
Preventing torture and tackling impunity for those who torture are essential components of safeguarding our security and are integral to a fair legal system and the rule of law.
The UK abides by its commitments under international law and expects all countries to comply with their international legal obligations.
The UK Government, including the intelligence and security agencies, never uses torture for any purpose, including to obtain information.
As in any circumstances, if anyone has evidence of any wrongdoing, that should be brought to the attention of the appropriate authorities for investigation.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of freezing rates of child benefit and child tax credit on families in Blaydon constituency.
David Gauke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury: The Government has considered the impact on all benefits and tax credits rates that are included in the four year uprating freeze. The Government has published an impact assessment at:
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she plans to take to ensure that the ban on the use of microbeads, announced by her Department on 3 September 2016, is comprehensive and effective; and if she will inform the House of the lessons learned from the ban on those products in the US.
Thérèse Coffey, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs): We are currently running a consultation on our proposals which end on 28th February 2017. The US ban has not yet come into force, but we will continue to monitor its progress and look to learn any lessons from its approach.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): It is clear that the Government are happy to play political football with these people's lives. It shows contempt for 12,000 people working in our health and social care service in Scotland and for 20,000 people working in the food industry, which the Secretary of State has just bragged is the most important part of Scottish industry. When will he stop treating these people this way and give them the guarantee they need to live a happy and secure life in Scotland?
David Mundell (Secretary of State for Scotland): I have made it absolutely clear, as has the Prime Minister, how much we value the contribution that EU nationals make in Scotland to both the economy and civic society. We want them to stay, but we also want UK nationals elsewhere in the EU to be able to stay where they are.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Before I ask a question, I take the opportunity to send my condolences to the family of my great comrade, Gerald Kaufman, a genuine parliamentarian.
On 12 October, the Secretary of State stood at the Dispatch Box and said
"whatever support is put in place for businesses in the north of England will apply to businesses in Scotland." - [Official Report, 12 October 2016; Vol. 615, c.287.]
That was in relation to the deal struck with Nissan. Does he stand by that promise?
David Mundell (Secretary of State for Scotland): I associate myself with the hon. Gentleman's comments about Gerald Kaufman. He was a near neighbour of mine in the previous Parliament and I always found him to be the perfect gentleman.
I made it clear in previous answers that the Government's approach will be consistent across the United Kingdom.
Mr Anderson: While some businesses and workers are aware of that welcome reassurance, I have yet to meet any businesses in Scotland that know about the commitment to give them the same deal as was done with Nissan. Why has the Secretary of State not been more public about the commitment? Why is it the best kept secret in Scotland?
David Mundell: I have made it clear to the hon. Gentleman how the UK Government are approaching the Brexit negotiations and how we are fully engaged with businesses in Scotland to ensure that we understand their concerns. We can go forward on a basis that will ensure that Scotland and the whole United Kingdom get the best possible deal from the UK leaving the EU.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what the reasons are for business rate relief (a) being provided to private health companies and (b) not being provided to publicly funded health services.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether he has made an assessment of the effect of the level of business rates on NHS budgets.
Marcus Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government): Any healthcare provider which is a charity and using their property wholly or mainly for charitable purposes will be entitled to 80% mandatory rate relief. Charities in the healthcare sector make an important contribution to our society and it is right they should benefit from mandatory rate relief.
NHS properties, like almost all other buildings occupied by public bodies, have been subject to non-domestic rates since they were introduced. Operational costs related to property are taken into account at spending reviews in determining the overall level of funding for the NHS.
A £3.6 billion transitional relief scheme will provide support for the minority of properties which face an increase in rates as a result of the 2017 revaluation, and applies equally to public bodies such as the NHS.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether it is her Department's policy to provide information to prisoners and their families in the event of their transfer to another prison; and by what mechanism prisoners and their families can appeal a prison transfer.
Sam Gyimah, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): Prison Rules require prisons to actively encourage prisoners to maintain outside contacts and meaningful family ties.
Prisoners also have a statutory entitlement to send and receive letters and are entitled to one free letter to inform someone they are being transferred. They are also given the access to make a telephone call on the day of their arrival to a new prison to inform their family of their new location if they have not been able to do so in advance. It is the prisoners' responsibility to advise their family if they are transferring to another prison.
The prisoner can make an appeal through the complaints system and is entitled to a reply, which should provide clear reasons for their decision. If they are not satisfied with their response they can write to the Prison Ombudsman. Families can also raise any concerns directly with the Prison.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): On Monday, I met a woman whose mother was killed 46 years ago and who asked me to ask the Secretary of State whether he understood that there can be no real peace unless we deal with the past. To that end and as a start, will the right hon. Gentleman commit to raise with the Irish Government the need to ensure the fullest possible public access to the papers relating to the Kingsmill murders and to deliver an effective route by which the families of those who lost loved ones at Ballymurphy can reach some form of closure?
James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: I thank the hon. Gentleman, and his message about the raw pain and emotion that continue to be felt by so many of those who were affected by the troubles is one that I equally recognise. It is important that we can make progress in relation to the Stormont House legacy bodies. We will continue to make representations to the Irish Government on a range of issues, and I note the specific point that he raises with me this morning.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): May I start by asking the House to accept the Labour leader's heartfelt apologies for his mistaken statement last week, when he said that a member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland had been killed? I am sure the House will agree that we all want to see the officer make good progress. We wish him and his family well.
There is no doubt that political instability worries businesses, but a much bigger day-to-day threat is the burden placed on business by the crushing cost of energy in Northern Ireland. Electricity generators are charging customers 58% more than the EU average, while pulling in gross profits of €900 million a year. Will the Secretary of State meet the energy regulator urgently to impress on it the need to rein in these fat cat profiteers?
Kris Hopkins , Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office): We will do everything we can to ensure that there is a good economic link between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The common economic connector is an important part of that and we will work together to resolve that issue.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): It is a privilege to serve under your chairmanship today, Mr Gray. I welcome the order. The important thing about this debate is that it is not about the present Scottish Government or the past Scottish Government and how they have behaved; it is about the Scottish Government as an institution. From now on, an independent commission will be able to scrutinise the work that they do.
I share the concerns of the hon. Member for Aberdeen North. There is an issue about how good the scrutiny is when the people doing it are 500, 600, 700 or even 800 miles away from the people on the ground, so it is very good that we are where we are. However, I echo the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh South about the time that this has taken. I do not want a debate about why his amendment fell, because I am glad that we have unity here today, but it is quite clear that there were concerns and resistance when the Scottish Fiscal Commission Act was being debated in the Scottish Parliament last year. Will the Minister explain why this has taken so long and why the order will not be enacted for at least another two months? I understand that nothing moves very fast in this place, but did it really have to take this long?
Michael Ellis, Deputy Leader of the House of Commons: The timeframes for the administrative aspects of enacting these measures are perfectly routine. I do not think that they depart from the normal processes that are necessary for moving through the legislative and administrative procedures for getting these things authorised.
I conclude by commending the order to the Committee. I am delighted that it has the support of all Members from the Opposition parties and from the Government.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): In a week when the chairman of the British Medical Association in Scotland has warned that the NHS in Scotland is "at breaking point", is the Minister as surprised as I am that the so-called progressive SNP Government in Holyrood consistently refuse to use the powers afforded them to protect the NHS in Scotland?
Simon Kirby, Economic Secretary (HM Treasury): Scotland's new devolution settlement delivers one of the most powerful and accountable devolved Parliaments in the world, giving the Scottish Government unprecedented power to shape the future economy of Scotland.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Almost two thirds of the UK's agriculture exports are to the EU. After what we heard from the Prime Minister yesterday, there is an increasing possibility that we could revert to World Trade Organisation trade rules on exit from the EU. Does the Secretary of State agree with the NFU Scotland, which says that the potential for 20% tariffs as a result of WTO trade rules will be increasingly damaging for the profitability of Scottish agriculture?
David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland: The Prime Minister made it clear yesterday that her objective is to achieve the best possible access to the single market, with the minimum of barriers and tariffs. That will be to the benefit of Scottish agriculture. Scottish farmers see the opportunity that leaving the EU provides them, and I am sure that they will seize it and that we will be able to provide the environment in which they will succeed.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I am sure the whole House will join me in sending our condolences to the family of Canon Kenyon Wright, who, sadly, passed away last week. He was a principled man whose legacy should serve as a reminder to all of us that when we work together it is possible to deliver the impossible.
This Tory Government are currently moving disabled people from the disability living allowance to personal independence payments, and it is estimated that the people of Scotland will lose out on £190 million a year as a result. If that was not bad enough, the Government did this a year ago but they withdrew the timetable and have not issued a new one. So can the Secretary of State please inform the House, and indeed the people of Scotland, when they can expect to lose out on this £190 million a year?
David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland: First, may I welcome the hon. Gentleman back? He was missed at our last Scottish questions, although the hon. Member for Ealing North (Stephen Pound) entertained the House - I think I can say that. I knew Canon Kenyon Wright and he was indeed a very principled man, with strong personal conviction. He played a very important part in the constitutional convention that led to the establishment of the Scottish Parliament. As we have seen in the media, he is widely mourned.
The hon. Member for Blaydon (Mr Anderson) will know that disability benefits are to be fully devolved to the Scottish Parliament, and the funding of those benefits was dealt with in the negotiations for the fiscal framework. It is now for the Scottish Government to come forward with their proposals for disability benefits in Scotland.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Have you been informed whether the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has any intention of making a statement to the House on the resignation of the Deputy First Minister and the implications for the Assembly?
Mr Speaker: The short answer to the hon. Gentleman is that I have not received any indication of an impending statement by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the matter to which he refers. I appreciate that it will of course be of great interest to many Members of the House. The fairest thing I can say is that we must await the development of events. I am conscious that there is a Westminster Hall debate tomorrow afternoon. The possibility of an oral statement by the Government must clearly exist.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference to the Northern Ireland Office Renewable Heating Incentive Scheme, published on 5 July 2016, what steps his Department is taking to support the Northern Ireland Executive to create an open and accountable process to investigate Renewable Heating Incentive overspend.
James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: The Northern Ireland Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive and not the Northern Ireland Office. The Northern Ireland Audit Office has responsibility for the financial and value for money audit of central government bodies in the Northern Ireland Executive.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether there will be an overspend on the Northern Ireland block grant from the Renewable Heating Incentive over the lifetime of the scheme.
David Gauke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury: The Treasury sets an allocation related to the costs of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme in the Northern Ireland Executive's Annually Managed Expenditure (AME) budget, proportionate to the budgets set in AME for the departments which manage the schemes in Great Britain. Any costs in excess of this AME budget are managed by the Northern Ireland Executive from its block grant or other sources of funding available to it.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The Minister mentioned the meetings of the committee that has been set up under the Secretary of State's chairmanship. The Secretary of State agreed last week that a plan would be put to the House before article 50 is triggered - will that group meet before then, during the process, or what?
Robin Walker, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Exiting the European Union): I am grateful to the shadow Minister for his intervention. I assure him that the group will meet before that plan comes forward. As I said, monthly meetings of the group are already arranged, and there will be further meetings before the publication of the plan. It is important that the views of the JMC should be taken into account.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Last week, in response to a written question on the status and rights of UK state pensioners living in the Republic of Ireland post-Brexit, I was told by Department for Work and Pensions Ministers that that was a matter for negotiation. They simply do not know what the future of those people is. What will the Secretary of State do to get this issue resolved as a matter of urgency? Is this not yet another example of why he should be a permanent member of the Brexit team, not just an add-on?
James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: I can say to the hon. Gentleman in terms that we are playing a key role in ensuring that there is a UK-wide negotiation and that the interests of Northern Ireland are heard loud and clear in those preparations. One of the aspects of that is the Ireland Act 1949 - the rights of Irish citizens in the United Kingdom - and that is part of the work that we are doing.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Recent reports in the United States show that advice given by our civil servants to the US State Department prior to the referendum was that it need not do any preparatory work, because "Brexit can't possibly happen, so don't worry about it." Was the same crass advice being given by the NIO to our partners, and especially to the Irish Government?
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Kris Hopkins): I do not recognise the comments that have just been made. We have an extremely good relationship with the Irish Government. We will continue that dialogue and work with them.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): One of the most serious omissions over the past years has been the failure to address the desperate plight of people who have been seriously injured as a result of the troubles, and who have been unable to work and therefore unable to build up second pension provision. Notwithstanding what the Secretary of State said about the need for political consensus, will he meet me and representatives of the WAVE trauma centre to see how we can work together to try to resolve this tremendous anomaly as quickly as possible?
James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising this issue. I have met with the WAVE trauma centre previously, and look forward to continuing engagement with it. I am conscious of the issue of pension rights. Discussion is continuing with the Northern Ireland Executive, and I will continue to seek to gain the necessary consensus to make progress on this important issue.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will discuss with energy companies the potential exclusion of customers who cannot access IT services from cheaper tariffs.
Jesse Norman, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy): Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy Ministers have met with a number of energy supply companies to discuss a wide range of issues.
Consumers without access to the internet can shop around to find a better deal for their energy by using any price comparison company which is accredited to the Confidence Code administered by Ofgem and provides a free telephone price comparison service. In addition Citizen Advice offers advice and support on energy switching.
The Government has made it clear that it wants to see companies treating all of their customers fairly - not just those who switch.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, which regions have agreed or are developing plans for devolved government without the need for an elected mayor.
Andrew Percy, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government): To date Cornwall, a single, large unitary authority is the only area to agree a non-mayoral devolution deal with government. As a result their devolution package is not as expansive as those deals which have included commitments to establish Mayoral Combined Authorities, for example Cornwall has not received a Gainshare fund.
With regard to future devolution, it is for local areas to develop their proposals and share these with government.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what criteria he uses to decide whether a region can agree a devolution deal without a regional mayor.
Andrew Percy, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government): An area's governance arrangements must provide the accountability and leadership which is proportionate to the scale of powers and budgets being devolved.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether UK state pensioners who reside in the Irish Republic will receive annual updating of their UK state pension after the UK leaves the EU; and if he will make a statement.
Richard Harrington, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions): The details for negotiating the UK's exit from the EU will take some time. The status of pensioners will need to be carefully considered and state pensions will be considered carefully as part of the negotiations.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to the Answer of 16 November 2016 to Question 52620, on County Londonderry, what the legal basis is for the Government's position given in that Answer.
James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: The issues relating to Lough Foyle date back to a 1662 charter of Charles II, which granted the waters and bed (as well as the fisheries) of Lough Foyle to the Irish Society, and included them as part of County Londonderry.
In practice, the regulation of activities in the Lough is now the responsibility of the Loughs Agency, a cross-border body established under the Belfast Agreement of 1998.
We remain fully committed to these arrangements and continue to work closely with the Irish Government over improvements to the management of the Lough. Like the Irish Government, we do not anticipate these issues forming part of the negotiations over the UK's exit from the European Union.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent assessment he has made of the risks posed by WiFi and related electromagnetic fields to children.
Nicola Blackwood, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): Government policy is that exposures to electromagnetic fields from Wi-Fi and other radio equipment should comply with the guidelines on limiting exposures from the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
The former Health Protection Agency published a comprehensive review of the evidence prepared by its independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation in 2012. The Group's overall conclusion was that although a substantial amount of research has been conducted in this area, there is no convincing evidence that electromagnetic field exposures below guideline levels cause health effects in either adults or children.
Exposures from Wi-Fi equipment are well within the ICNIRP levels. Public Health England (PHE) advice is that there is no consistent evidence to date that exposures adversely affect the health of the general population. PHE has committed to keeping emerging evidence under review and preparing another comprehensive review when sufficient new evidence has accumulated.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the Brain Tumour Research report on National Research Funding, published in October 2016, if he will make an assessment of the reasons for the 40 per cent increase in brain tumour diagnosis in the North East between 2011 and 2014.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the Brain Tumour Research report on National Research Funding, published in October 2016, if he will launch a public enquiry into reasons for the 40 per cent increase in brain tumour diagnosis in the North East between 2011 and 2014.
David Mowat, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): These are matters for the local National Health Service.
Public Health England advises that the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) collects data on all primary cancers diagnosed in England. The report from Brain Tumour Research shows that there were 241 brain cancers diagnosed in the North East in 2014, and NCRAS data shows that there were 210 diagnoses in 2011.
NCRAS recommends that changes in cancer incidence are only compared using an age-standardised rate to ensure differences in the underlying population and changing age structure of an area are taken into account. The age-standardised rate of brain cancer incidence in the North East in 2014 was 9.5 per 100,000, and in 2011 was 8.4 per 100,000. As the number of new diagnoses is relatively small, it is not possible to say that any differences over time, or between the North East and the England average, are outside of that expected by random variation.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment he has made of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on the inshore fishing regime.
James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: EU exit gives the UK an opportunity to review fishing regimes across all segments of the UK fleet and to assess how we can best support sustainable fisheries.
The Government looks forward to working with the Northern Ireland Executive throughout the negotiations process to ensure that this sector's views are taken into account.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how the Foyle and Carlingford catchments fishing regime will be enforced and regulated after the UK leaves the EU; and if he will make a statement.
James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: The UK Government is committed to withdrawing from the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and putting a new fisheries regime in place. No decisions have yet been taken, although the Government remains committed to sustainable fisheries and the Discard Ban (Landing Obligation), as set out in its manifesto commitments.
The UK is bound by international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which gives coastal states rights and responsibilities over their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the resources within it.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether the boundary of County Londonderry with Ireland is on the western shore of Lough Foyle; and if he will make a statement.
James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: The Government's position remains that the whole of Lough Foyle is within the UK.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how many and what proportion of workers living in the Republic of Ireland have their principal place of work in the border counties of Northern Ireland.
James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: The 2011 Northern Ireland census revealed that a total of 14,800 people regularly travelled across the border for work or study, of whom 8,300 were travelling from Ireland to Northern Ireland.
There is no specific evidence relating to how many of these people worked in border counties. The 2011 census did reveal that end-destinations were concentrated in the Belfast and Derry/Londonderry Local Government Districts, with further clusters in Newry, Armagh, Craigavon, Dungannon, Enniskillen, Omagh, Limavady, Strabane and Coleraine.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what progress has been made on the development of a long-term decommissioning strategy for the North Sea oil and gas industry to (a) ensure the development of that industry and (b) maintain the role of that industry in the Scottish economy.
David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland: The UK Government is well-aware of the importance of the oil and gas sector to the economy and in the last two budgets we announced radical packages of tax measures worth £2.3bn to ensure the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) remains an attractive destination for investment.
(a) The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has been set up to regulate, influence and promote the UK oil and gas industry and maximise economic recovery of the UK's oil and gas resources;
(b) The OGA has recently published its decommissioning strategy and delivery programme. This outlines how the OGA, government and industry will work together, and is available online at:
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether progress was made in discussions on the apprenticeship levy at the meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council on 24 October 2016.
David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland: On 25 October, the UK Government published its funding plans which underpin how the levy will operate in England. These plans will provide more support for younger apprentices and disadvantaged people, as well as more flexibility for employers. More details on the policy are available at:
As skills policy is devolved, it is for the Scottish Government to decide how it will use its share of the funding.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when she plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Blaydon of 19 August 2016 on the application of the Apprenticeship Levy in Scotland.
Robert Halfon, Minister of State (Department for Education): The hon. Member should have received an email response on 14 October, with a hard copy to follow.
Skills policy is devolved, which means that the Scottish Government is responsible for managing apprenticeships in its own territory. This has been the case since the Scotland Act 1998 and UK employers understand that they need to engage with different funding bodies in different parts of the UK. The introduction of the apprenticeship levy in April 2017 will not change this position.
On 12 August, we published detailed proposals on how we will fund apprenticeships in England when the levy is introduced in April 2017. These are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/apprenticeship-changes. We are committed to publishing the final apprenticeship funding policy information for England before the end of October. It will be for the Scottish Government to set out its own plans for funding apprenticeships in Scotland.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): We have already heard the huge concerns in Northern Ireland about the specific problems posed by Brexit. One fundamental issue that has not been addressed so far is the fate of the Good Friday agreement, which is an international agreement formally registered with the United Nations. Will the Secretary of State tell the House today what specific measures he and civil servants in Northern Ireland have taken to ensure that this important issue is not left behind in the wake of Brexit?
James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: The Government remain fully committed to the political settlement and the institutions set out in the Belfast agreement and all its successors. ?The key principles established there, the details that have been taken over successive Governments, are things that we do not want to unsettle and that we will maintain. I assure the hon. Gentleman of the focus we are giving to this matter.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): On the back of the Chancellor's comment to Nissan that it will be compensated for losses due to Brexit, the Secretary of State for Scotland said at the Dispatch Box two weeks ago:
"whatever support is put in place for businesses in the north of England will apply to businesses in Scotland." - [Official Report, 12 October 2016; Vol. 615, c. 287.]
Given that the manufacturing sector plays such a pivotal role in Northern Ireland, will the Secretary of State confirm to the House that his Government's policy will apply to Northern Ireland in the same way as it appears to apply to Scotland and the north of England?
James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: We take an all-UK approach. That is the way in which the Chancellor has been approaching his announcements about support post the departure from the EU, ensuring that we do have such a UK-wide approach, and indeed his preparations for his autumn statement. The approach will be to support the UK, with Northern Ireland being a core part of that.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): It is pleasure to be before you today, Mr Rosindell. To get straight to the point, this is a tidying-up exercise, which is long overdue. People who are facing the misery of bankruptcy and people trying to advise them do not need any complications on top of what they have got. The order does exactly the right thing by putting that right, and the Opposition are happy to support it.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the expansion of the Doctaly scheme on patients' access to GP services.
David Mowat, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): The Department has made no assessment of the potential effect of the expansion of the Doctaly scheme on patients' access to general practice (GP) services.
The General Practice Forward View, published in April 2016, announced that an extra £2.4 billion a year will be invested in GP services by 2020/21. As part of overall investment in general practice, NHS England will provide over £500 million of recurrent funding by 2020/21, on top of current primary medical care allocations, to enable clinical commissioning groups to commission and fund extra capacity across England. This is to ensure that by 2020, everyone has access to GP services, including sufficient routine appointments at evenings and weekends to meet locally determined demand, alongside effective access to out of hours and urgent care services.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Crucial to promoting trade is the need to support apprenticeships. However, training bodes, organisations, businesses and employers in Scotland have told me that they are struggling to get clear guidance on how the apprenticeship levy will work. Will the Secretary of State ensure, unlike his colleague the Business Secretary, that he works urgently with the Scottish Government to give those people the information that they need?
David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland: I am absolutely committed to doing that, and I can confirm that the apprenticeship levy will be discussed when the joint ministerial council meets on 24 October.
Mr Anderson: One area in which apprenticeships could work is the oil industry and the decommissioning of oil rigs. We have already seen the loss of 80,000 jobs in that industry, and that will be compounded if we ?continue, as has happened recently, to lose decommissioning contracts to other countries. Do the Government have any strategy at all to ensure that those crucial jobs remain in Scottish hands?
David Mundell: The hon. Gentleman will know that the Government are committed to the industry, and a £2.3 billion investment and associated tax changes were exactly the support that it asked for. We have also established, along with the Scottish Government, the £250 million Aberdeen city deal, which will have at its heart a new technology centre to ensure that skills and jobs remain in the north-east.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): As a result of demands from Nissan, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has suggested that companies that will suffer a loss of profits as result of exiting the EU may be due compensation. Can the Secretary of State assure businesses based in Scotland which will suffer the same loss of profits that they will be entitled to the same deal, and if so has he made an assessment of the costs of such compensation?
David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland: May I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on retaining his position as shadow Scottish Secretary? I understand that on the Benches behind him is the Westminster spokesman of the Scottish Labour party, and I am sure that it will emerge during these questions how those two positions interrelate.
The point that I would make in response to the hon. Gentleman's question is that we will have a common response across the United Kingdom and that whatever support is put in place for businesses in the north of England will apply to businesses in Scotland.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will investigate whether TUPE provisions have been applied to British Airways IT workers' jobs that have been outsourced in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement.
Margot James, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy): When a business changes owner, TUPE regulations may apply. Outsourcing part of their business is a commercial decision taken by British Airways and it is not a matter for the Government to investigate such decisions.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether the Government is ensuring that programmes involving the regeneration of public land require a proportion of the new homes delivered to be accessible for disabled people.
Gavin Barwell, Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Housing, Planning and London): The Government is committed to addressing the supply of new land for housing. The Public Land for Housing programme has set an ambition to dispose of surplus government-owned land in England with capacity for at least 160,000 homes by 2020. And at Budget 2016 the Chancellor announced a local government land ambition to release land with the capacity for a further 160,000 homes.
Individual local planning authorities will decide the type and number of homes developed on the land released - including those for disabled people - in order to meet local need.
We have put in place new, flexible Building Regulations which allow local authorities to apply appropriate access standards for new homes to meet the needs of their communities while ensuring that development can happen. Building regulations require minimum standards of accessibility for all new dwellings. Local authorities are able to set policies for a proportion of new development to be built to higher standards of accessibility in order to meet local needs in accordance with national planning policy and guidance.
The Government is committed to helping older and disabled people to live independently and safely in their own homes for as a long as possible. The Disabled Facilities Grant funds the provision of home adaptations (including stair lifts, level access showers and in some instances home extensions) to help older and disabled people to live as comfortably, safely and independently as possible in their own homes for longer. Since 2010 we have invested over a billion pounds into the grant providing around 250,000 adaptations to older and disabled people's homes in England.
Government is also boosting the supply of specialised housing through the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund, with 79 schemes receiving more than £84.2 million to develop up to 2,000 affordable homes over the next few years.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment her Department has made of the implications for (a) prison officer and (b) prisoner safety of prison officers working in shifts at other prison establishments in addition to those prison establishments at which they are based.
Sam Gyimah, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): There is a requirement that home/parent establishments maintain records of all official duties carried out by members of staff, both those duties within their home/parent establishment and within or for any other establishment. Establishments are also required to maintain records when members of staff from other establishments carryout duties within or for their establishment.
Individual members of staff have a responsibility to support the above and are required inform their parent establishment of their wish/intention to work additional hours at another establishment, in advance of the hours being worked.
When members of staff are deployed to another establishment for a protracted period on Detached Duty they are given an appropriate induction to familiarise them with specifics of the prison and key issues relating to individual prisoners. If standard duties are carried out on an ad hoc basis for other establishments standard risk assessments and briefs will be carried out.
In all circumstances records should be maintained.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Oral Answer of 18 July 2016, HC Deb, Official Report, column 538, whether it is the Government's policy not to impose a devolution deal that includes an elected mayor on any area that does not want an elected mayor.
Andrew Percy, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government): The Government's policy is that if an area is to have an elected mayor, it will be because that area, through its democratically elected representatives, has chosen to have one.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make it his policy to impose an embargo on the sale of arms between the UK and Israel.
Tobias Ellwood, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office): The Government takes its arms export responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria. We do not believe that imposing a blanket arms embargo on Israel would promote the urgent progress towards the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which we want to see. We continue to monitor the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and take into account the latest circumstances when assessing licence applications. Israel, like any state, has the right to ensure its own security, as its citizens also have the right to live without fear of attack and we will continue to support Israel's right to defend itself.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what information her Department holds on the number of prison officers who work additional shifts at other prison establishments; and whether line managers at those prison officers' main place of work are aware of additional shifts worked elsewhere
Sam Gyimah, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): There is a requirement that home/parent establishments maintain records of all official duties carried out by members of staff, both those duties within their home/parent establishment and within or for any other establishment.
Establishments are also required to maintain records when members of staff from other establishments carryout duties within or for their establishment.
Individual members of staff have a responsibility to support the above and are required inform their parent establishment of their wish/intention to work additional hours at another establishment, in advance of the hours being worked. In all circumstances records should be maintained
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what representations she has received on prison officers working additional shifts in other prison establishments than those at which they are based without the knowledge of their line management.
Sam Gyimah, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice): Following an audit of the arrangements under which members of staff undertake additional hours/shifts, new arrangements and requirements were introduced that mandated the need to maintain records of all attendance arrangements, both those within parent establishments and also any additional attendance within other establishments.
The above new arrangements were introduced in 2014 with the publication of Notice to Staff 43/2014.
Concerns have previously been raised relating to staff undertaking additional hours/shifts within establishments other than their home/parent establishment by the Prison Officers Association. It is felt that the introduction of the above addresses this, as the arrangements ensure that information is readily available to managers to enable them to monitor the additional attendance.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, House of Lords, 9 July 2015, Official Report, column 286, what his policy is on part funding of the NHS through insurance and co-payments.
Philip Dunne, Minister of State (Department of Health): There is no plan to change the way that the National Health Service is funded nor any consideration of changes. The Government remains committed to the principles of the NHS, enshrined in the NHS Constitution, that access to NHS services is based on clinical need, not the ability to pay.
The Government is also committed to working with the NHS in implementing its own plan for the future of the NHS - the Five Year Forward View - backed up by the commitment made in the Spending Review to provide an additional £10 billion in real terms by 2020-21 compared to 2014-15. This fully funds the plan.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I, too, welcome the new Secretary of State and his Minister to their posts, and assure him that we on the Labour Benches will do everything we can to carry on the bipartisan approach, doing the best we can for the people of Northern Ireland. I also thank my predecessor, my hon. Friend the Member for Gedling (Vernon Coaker). Everyone I have met in Northern Ireland asked me to thank him for his work.
For years the rebalancing of the Northern Ireland economy has been promoted by the Government, and intrinsic to this has been a push to reduce corporation tax, but in recent discussions that I have had with businesses in Northern Ireland, they have told me that it is much more important to address the huge skills gap in Northern Ireland, where far too many young people are leaving school unable to read and write properly. What will the Secretary of State do to help the people of Northern Ireland to bridge that gap?
Mr Speaker: We need great brevity as there are a lot of questions to reach.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (James Brokenshire): I thank the hon. Gentleman for his warm welcome. I certainly want to continue the bipartisan relationship. He highlights the issue of skills. I absolutely recognise that and will work with the Northern Ireland Executive on apprenticeships and on creating jobs and opportunities for young people, to give them the best possible advantages.
Mr Speaker: Splendid.
Mr Anderson: May I suggest to the Secretary of State that for his summer reading this month, he looks into a number of reports - the report recently produced by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on the referendum, the report from the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association on its economic plan, and crucially the report from the Economic and Social Research Institute, that was produced for the Irish Government in November last year to show that the trade deficit between the north and the south following Brexit could fall by at least 20%? Will he come back to the House in the autumn and tell us why his predecessor and the Northern Ireland Office were so badly prepared for Brexit?
James Brokenshire: I am always grateful for recommendations for summer reading and I will add the hon. Gentleman's suggestions to my list. It is important to recognise that exports from Northern Ireland to the United States increased by more than 80%, and also increased to Canada and Germany. We will certainly promote that positive outlook for Northern Ireland.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications of UK withdrawal from the EU for UK pensions and healthcare provision for UK citizens (a) currently residing in other EU member states and (b) wishing to retire to other EU member states.
David Lidington, Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (European issues and NATO): As the Prime Minister, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) has said, there will be no immediate changes in the circumstances of British citizens living in European countries. It will be for the next Prime Minister to determine, along with their Cabinet, exactly the right approach to take in negotiating these provisions going forward but the Government's guiding principle will be ensuring the best possible outcome for the British people.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to reply to letters from the GMB trades union National Secretary, Mick Rix, on the outsourcing of jobs at British Airways and use of tier 2 visas; and if she will make a statement.
James Brokenshire, Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration) : The Home Office has received letters from Mr Rix and intends to respond in due course. It is a decision for businesses whether to outsource certain functions. We have, however, responded to concerns that use of the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer (ICT)) route may undercut or displace resident workers. On 24 March we announced that we will simplify and streamline the route in line with our international trade commitments to admit senior managers and specialists. From April 2017, all transferees (other than limited numbers of graduate trainees) will be required to qualify under a single visa category with a minimum salary of £41,500.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will publish the pass rates for the year one phonics screening check by the birth month of the pupils.
Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Department for Education): We will publish phonics results for Year 1 pupils by month of birth at national level for 2016. The data will be published at the end of September in a statistical first release at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-key-stage-1
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Human Rights Watch report on Ethiopia, Such a brutal crackdown, published in June 2016, on alleged human rights violations by government security forces in that country.
James Duddridge, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office): We are aware of the Human Rights Watch report on Ethiopia and are considering its findings. I met with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on 27 January. I raised the UK's concerns with regards to the human rights situation. We will continue to raise our concerns with the government of Ethiopia both through our bilateral engagement, most notably our ongoing Human Rights Dialogue, as well as jointly with our international partners.
We remain deeply concerned about the handling of demonstrations in Oromia, including the reported deaths of a number of protesters, and about those detained under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. We have repeatedly made representations to the Ethiopian Government over the situation in that region.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has been appointed to look into the handling of the protests in Oromia and presented their findings to the Ethiopian parliament on 10 June 2016. We have not seen the report, but are pressing for its publication and will take a view on what further actions, if any, might be appropriate.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with the Ethiopian government on the implications for her Department's supported programmes in Oromia of the response of that government to protests in that region.
Nick Hurd, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Development) : I visited Ethiopia on the 17th of June and held discussions with senior Ministers in the Ethiopian Government, reiterating our concerns about the response to the protests in Oromia. I emphasised that civil and political rights are an important aspect of DFID's Partnership Principles assessments, which inform decisions on the shape of our programme.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent discussions she has had with the Ethiopian government on the situation in the Oromia region.
Nick Hurd, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Development): I visited Ethiopia on 17th June and met with a number of senior Ethiopian Government officials. Our discussions covered a range of issues, including the situation in the Oromia region. I set out the UK Government's serious concerns about the response to protests in Oromia.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when his Department plans to publish the findings of its forthcoming review on personal independence payments.
Justin Tomlinson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People): I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to his previous Question UIN39987.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, if he will take steps to ensure that the proposed EU-Canada trade agreement is not implemented until it has been fully scrutinised by national parliaments.
Anna Soubry, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Business and Enterprise): The EU-Canada Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) could be worth up to £1.3 billion per year to the UK economy. The Government is therefore keen to see the agreement implemented as soon as possible.
The Government considers, along with other Member States, that CETA is a "mixed agreement". This means that CETA can only take full effect once the UK has decided to ratify it. As part of that ratification process, the complete draft text of the agreement would be laid before Parliament for 21 sitting days. In addition, the Government will ensure the proposals for a Council decision on signature, and subsequently conclusion, will be subject to scrutiny in both houses of the UK Parliament.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions his Department has had with stakeholders on the terms of reference of the forthcoming review on personal independence payments.
Justin Tomlinson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People): The Department has regular discussions with stakeholders on all aspects of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
PIP is subject to two statutory, independent reports on the operation of assessments which determine ability to carry out daily living activities or mobility activities. The terms of reference for the second report, due to be published by April 2017, will be subject to the statutory criteria and will be published in due course.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Before our friends from Scotland get too carried away, may I gently remind them that there was a riot at the end of the Scottish football final on 21 May?
I want to make a serious point about how we can prevent racism and do the necessary work on the ground. For the past two decades, groups such as Show Racism the Red Card have played a tremendous part in that anti-racist work, going into schools and encouraging young people to get involved in it. Sadly, however, as a result of Government decisions, funding for such groups has been cut both by local authorities and the Department for Communities and Local Government. May I encourage the Home Secretary and other Ministers who are here today to consider restoring that support? Getting to our children first is what will end this curse.
Theresa May, Home Secretary: The hon. Gentleman makes an important point about the significant work that has been done over the years to stop racism in football. Sadly, the job is not complete; the work must continue, and the Government and football authorities take that seriously. However, the issue is wider than racism. Before the Olympics I was involved in discussions with a number of sports authorities, including the Football Association, about homophobia at sporting events. We should all take those issues seriously and work at every level to try to cut all that out.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the advice on mobile telephone safety on the NHS Choices webpages, what the evidence base is for the recommendation that children should only use mobile telephones for essential purposes and keep all calls short.
Jane Ellison, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): Public Health England (PHE) keeps the scientific evidence regarding the effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields from mobile phones on public health under review, and advises on the measures that should be taken to protect the public.
Precautionary advice to discourage the non-essential use of mobile phones by children dates from the year 2000 and was motivated by concerns that, if there are unrecognised adverse health effects from the use of mobile phones, children may be more vulnerable. The advice was accepted by government and has been continued by Public Health England, including after its 2012 comprehensive review of research evidence, which found no convincing evidence that exposures to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields below the international guideline levels cause health effects in either adults or children. The precautionary advice is based on the potential for health effects, rather than proven identifiable evidence of harm.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will discuss with his US counterpart the potential implications for his policies of work undertaken by the US National Toxicology Program on links between mobile telephone use and levels of cancer risk; and if he will make a statement.
Jane Ellison, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): The Government looks to Public Health England (PHE) to review the scientific evidence regarding the effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields from mobile phones on public health, and to advise on the measures that should be taken to protect the public. Among the available evidence are the recently-released partial findings from a study carried out by the United States National Toxicology Programme, which involved rats exposed at levels substantially above those to which the public are exposed when using mobile phones. PHE has welcomed the first results of the study but consider the findings far from definitive with regard to any relationship between the use of mobile phones and cancer in humans.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 25 May 2016 to Question 37646, what preparatory work NHS England is undertaking on Translarna; and whether a date has been set for a commercial meeting between NHS England and PTC Therapeutics after that preparatory work.
George Freeman, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): Further to the answer given in Question 37646, NHS England has been undertaking the detailed preparatory work required to meet the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence's request that NHS England and the supplier, PTC Therapeutics, work towards agreeing an acceptable managed access arrangement for Translarna (ataluren) by 7 July 2016.
NHS England will be meeting with the supplier when it has concluded this preparatory work. There have not been any commercial meetings with PTC Therapeutics in the period since 15th April 2016 - however, NHS England is in regular contact with the supplier and will be agreeing mutually convenient times to meet.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to accelerate the family reunification process for unaccompanied children in Europe with family in the UK.
James Brokenshire, Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration): The Government continues to work with key EU Member States to ensure the Dublin Regulation family reunification process works effectively.
Under the UK-France Joint Declaration of 20 August 2015, the UK and France have committed to ensuring that the provisions of the Dublin III Regulation are used efficiently and effectively. To assist the handling of such cases, the two Governments have established a permanent official contact group, agreed single points of contact within respective Dublin Units and we have seconded an asylum expert to the French administration to facilitate the improvement of all stages of the process. The UK and France are running regular joint communication campaigns in northern France which inform unaccompanied children and others of their right to claim asylum in France and of the family reunion process.
We are also providing support to the Dublin Units in Greece and Italy bilaterally and through European Asylum Support Office. On 4 May we announced the Government will work with local authorities on plans to resettle unaccompanied children from Europe. We are looking to transfer children who were already present in Europe before the EU-Turkey deal came into force on 20 March, where it is in their best interests.
We will work closely with local authorities to implement this initiative. It is important that we ensure we fulfil our obligations to children who are already in the UK, as well as ensuring we have the right support for those who may be brought to the UK from Europe. We will also consult relevant Non-Governmental Organisations, the UNHCR, UNICEF and Member States.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, if he will reconsider the proposal to privatise the Land Registry; and if he will make a statement.
Anna Soubry, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Business and Enterprise): A government consultation seeking views on options to move operations of the Land Registry to the private sector closed on 26 May. Government is currently considering the responses but no final decisions have been made.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what proportion of coal burnt in UK coal-fired power stations in each of the last three years was mined in the UK
Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): This can be estimated by subtracting the amount of steam coal imports (mainly used by coal-fired power stations) by the total amount of coal used in electricity generation. Please see the table below:
|Imports of steam coal (thousand tonnes)||Coal used in generation (thousand tonnes)||UK produced coal used for generation * (thousand tonnes)||Proportion of UK produced coal used for generation %|
* This includes stocks from earlier years.
Energy Trends tables 2.1 and 2.4, available at:
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The Secretary of State said in response to my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr Skinner) that this issue was not related to the mineworkers pension scheme, but there are lessons to be learned from it. Members need to understand that in 1994 it was estimated that the Treasury would get £2 billion out of the scheme over 25 years, but it looks like it will get £8 billion over 25 years, when retired miners and miners' widows are struggling to survive. That is the lesson. What is the Treasury going to take out of the proposal if it is involved? Let us not let what happened in 1994 happen again.
Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills: I reassure the hon. Gentleman that the options that may have been used in the past are not being considered. The consultation document is clear and relates specifically to the British Steel pension scheme.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The Chancellor has taken us through what has been happening in the Labour party recently. May I ask him to comment on what has been said about him and his leader by the former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith), who took through welfare reform over the past five years? He called the Prime Minister "disingenuous" and the Chancellor a liar and "Pinocchio". Where does that leave you, Chancellor?
Mr Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer: We worked together to bring welfare bills down and to make work pay. I am working with the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my right hon. Friend the Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire (Stephen Crabb) to carry on that record in government. We will go on building that strong economy and the sound public finances that underpin a fair society.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what the cost to the public purse was of the Notifications of Inadequate System Margin issued on 9 May 2016 by the National Grid; and if she will make a statement.
Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): There was no cost to the public purse resulting from the Notice of Inadequate System Margin issued on 9 May.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what measures she is putting in place to minimise the number of Notifications of Inadequate System Margin issued by the National Grid; and if she will make a statement.
Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): A Notice of Inadequate System Margin is one of the tools National Grid use to maintain margins in the system and can happen at any time for a variety of reasons. Issuing a NISM does not mean that demand is about to outstrip supply: it is a notice to the market to bring forward further capacity. National Grid issue NISMs ahead of dispatching capacity from its supplementary balancing reserve, which will include 3.5GW of dispatchable generating capacity next winter. This will give any remaining capacity in the market first opportunity to respond but does not signal any significant risk of shortages. National Grid's objective is to secure supplies and the NISM is an important tool to achieve that objective with minimum distortion to the market.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what proportion of coal produced and imported into the UK is used for (a) electricity generation, (b) steel production, (c) cement manufacture, (d) domestic uses, (e) carbon fibre goods, (f) liquid fuel manufacture, (g) mobile phone components and (h) heritage railways in the latest year for which figures are available.
Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change): The table below gives the proportion of coal produced and imported into the UK by sector for 2014. DECC only produces industry consumption data for the main industrial sectors. Therefore, data is not broken down specifically for cement manufacture, carbon fibre goods, liquid fuel manufacture and mobile phone components. For industry the table shows the two largest consumers and iron and steel.
|Thousand Tonnes||Proportion %|
|Of which: Electricity Generation||38,400||79.2%|
|Of which : Mineral Products||1173||2.4%|
|Pulp, paper, printing, etc||136||0.2%|
|Iron and Steel||54||0.1%|
*includes energy industry use, public administration, commercial and miscellaneous.
DUKES table 2.4 available at:
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Prime Minister, with reference to the Answer of 10 May 2016 to Question 36679, which of those specific groups of people referred to in that Question he has shared a speaking platform with in an official capacity.
The Prime Minister: Details of my official speeches are available on the gov.uk website.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to ensure that NHS England implements the NICE recommendation for NHS funding for Translarna as a treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
George Freeman, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently evaluating Translarna (ataluren) for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy through its highly specialised technology programme. The expected publication date for NICE's final guidance is July 2016.
National Health Service commissioners are legally required to fund drugs and treatments recommended in NICE highly specialised technology guidance within three months of its final guidance being issued.
Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many meetings NHS England has had with PTC Therapeutics to discuss an agreement on price for Translarna to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy since 15 April 2016.
George Freeman, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health): NHS England has advised that on 4 May 2016 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) asked NHS England and PTC Therapeutics to continue to work towards agreeing an acceptable managed access arrangement for Translarna (ataluren) for the treatment of children aged five and over with Duchenne muscular dystrophy caused by a nonsense mutation.
NHS England and the company have been asked to reach agreement on the cost of the drug to the National Health Service by 7 July.
NHS England has advised there have not been any commercial meetings with PTC Therapeutics in the period since 15 April 2016, however, it is in regular contact with the company.
NHS England will be meeting with PTC Therapeutics when it has concluded the detailed preparatory work required to effectively respond to NICE's request within the set timescale.
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Reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO